No trip to San Francisco would be complete without a trip to Alcatraz. So I ordered tickets online and got us an early time to get on the Alcatraz boat.   I assumed we would be able to take the ferry into the city again but I found out that the ferry didn’t run early enough for us to make it in time to catch the boat to Alcatraz. So, we had to ride the bus into the city. This wasn’t that big of a deal because the bus stop was closer to the campground than the ferry and we would be going over the Golden Gate Bridge.


One of us was very eager so early in the morning. We only waited about 5 minutes and our bus arrived.

IMG_4849Here it is…..We got on, paid our fare and away we went.


It was a great ride and we all got to enjoy the sights.DSC_0723

There is the city. Then before I knew it we were at the Golden Gate Bridge.

DSC_0726This is the only picture I got from the bus……DSC_0728

Haha! It all happened so fast and before I knew it we were off.


I hope to be able to explore the bridge more the next time we go. Anyway, our bus stop was close to the Ferry Building and the Alcatraz building is just a short walk from there.DSC_0721

Ta-da….it took us about 5 minutes to walk to the building and after we showed our tickets we boarded the Alcatraz Flyer.DSC_0741

The ride out was gorgeous! The day was beautiful and we were excited to explore.DSC_0743

Leaving San Fran….


passing the Golden Gate….DSC_0756

and arriving at Alcatraz. We got off the boat and there was lady telling us about the different parts of the island and when Micheal heard there was a movie that’s the first place we went. Micheal loves to watch historical movies…..and youtube…Haha.DSC_0771

Along the way to the first building we saw signs welcoming the Indians. DSC_0770


I didn’t understand this until we watched the film and during the 1970’s someone came up with the bright idea to let the Indians live on the island. It didn’t last long because duh…..The buildings were all ready showing signs of wear which is why they moved the prisoners out about 10-15 years earlier. Another interesting fact was that families lived on the island with the inmates…..DSC_0779

One woman who grew up on the island said she never saw any of the prisoners, but would occasionally hear them if they got riled up.

When we finished the film, we headed towards the prison. We were quite surprised to find so many stairs and hills to climb. DSC_0783

Once we made it to the top of the stairs, we were treated to an amazing view.DSC_0786

There is a society that keeps the grounds up and there are several species of birds living  on the island.

We made our way into the prison and got our headsets for the audio tour. This is included in the price of the ticket and we were excited to hear more about this place.DSC_0788

First place is the shower room. Yikes!DSC_0790

Then, we headed into the cell halls and the audio told us to head down Michigan Avenue. All the halls are labeled so it made it very easy to get around.DSC_0792

The only problem with an audio tour was we kept losing Micheal.DSC_0797 Mike and I would stop to talk about some of the things we were hearing and the next thing you know Micheal would be gone.DSC_0815 Lost in his own audio world.

We came across the poster of the famous inmates. DSC_0808

Maybe Al Capone thought he was going to an island resort. He looked very happy in his mugshot.


Another interesting fact we learned was that the inmates kept themselves very busy by crocheting, knitting, and drawing. Several inmates were allowed instruments and would play into the night entertaining the other inmates.


The inmates could also hear the New Year’s Eve celebrations from across the bay. This was the view from a window that the prisoners could look out of.DSC_0836

We learned of two incidents in the prison. First, was a hostile takeover. This incident was so bad that the military showed up and had to cut holes in the ceiling where the prisoners were holding some of the guards hostage……

This room was gated all around….DSC_0828

and at the very top was the hole.DSC_0829

Grenades were dropped from the ceiling and landed on the floor all around the prisoners….DSC_0827

The white spots are where the grenades went off…..this is very exciting stuff for Micheal!

Then there was the time four inmates used a spoon to dig a hole through the wall. These men made paper mache heads and attached real hair from their haircuts to the fake heads. They put these dummies in the beds and fooled the guards. This is like MacGyver!DSC_0864

We didn’t get to see the real heads used for the escape but we did see a remake of one. This was one of the actual cells.DSC_0865


I could see how this worked for the men.


Here is another hole that had been dug out. Once they got through the hole they were able to climb in between the walls and out of the building. After that nobody knows what happened to them. One theory is that one of the men who had been learning Spanish possibly made it to South America.

As we headed out of the cell house….DSC_0871

we came to the kitchen and cafeteria.


You can see the knife silhouettes were painted on the wall. The inmates would help in the kitchen and this was how the cooks knew that all the knives had been replaced. We also got to see where the inmates had there dental exams….DSC_0880

and their surgeries, if needed. I don’t think they gave out free tooth brushes and stickers here!DSC_0883

After heading through the rest of the building we made it outside….and thats when I felt like this could have been a very peaceful place for these poor men.DSC_0860

I love how you can see the streets in perfect little lines. DSC_0861

I love all the sailboats. Here is a video I took….

WOW!! So we didn’t get to see everything at Alcatraz because it was getting late in the day and we wanted to see one more thing in San Francisco …Lombard Street. We got back on the boat, got back to San Fran and followed our google map to this famous street. Little did we realize we were headed straight up!DSC_0892

Once at the top of this first hill, we took a break.DSC_0893

We clearly weren’t done climbing.DSC_0895

Micheal told us that this street better be worth seeing after climbing all the streets…..DSC_0897

Just to give you an idea of what kind of crazy people we are. Yes we know there are cable cars but they were so packed we didn’t want to cram ourselves in. We finally made it!DSC_0900

I think someone is happy to see it! Micheal on the other hand was not as excited. Especially, after we told him we were climbing to the top of Lombard street so we could see the view up there. DSC_0899

Here is some video I shot. Traffic probably wouldn’t be so bad if the people didn’t stand in the middle of the road. But that’s just my own opinion.

He did walk up, with the promise of eating afterwards. I don’t know how the owners of the houses feel about all the foot traffic but we were happy to have the chance to explore the street. This was at the top of the street.DSC_0901

Once we got to the top, we saw the cable car. Haha, that’s when I had to confess to Micheal that we could have taken the cable car. I am pretty sure he won’t ever let me forget this afternoon.DSC_0902

After all this climbing we were hungry so we headed toward Ghirardelli Square to eat dinner. I thought the option for a chocolate sundae would be good after a long day. So down the hills we went. DSC_0904

Such a beautiful city and the views never disappointed us.


The square was filled with restaurants and shops. We chose to eat at The Pub for some BBQ. DSC_0910

It was pretty good. When we finished eating I was to full for ice cream…so sad. We were all pretty tired so we decided to head back to the ferry. No bus trip back for us. It was good but not as comfortable as the ferry. DSC_0914

Along the way we passed Fisherman’s Wharf.


There were shops and restaurants along this street. We did get to see the famous Boudin Bakery. They have been making sourdough bread since 1849 and they make delicious animal shaped bread.DSC_0916


I loved our visit to San Francisco! I hope to return and see more of this gorgeous city!



The Patricks take on Alcatraz 2015

Next up we start heading home..first stop, Nevada

San Francisco


We left Marina, CA and headed north to San Francisco.


Instead of going through San Francisco and over the Golden Gate Bridge, I decided to go around through Oakland. I should have researched the road a little bit better because once we got to the bridge in Oakland we came to a toll……$20.00 later we were able to cross. If we had come across the Golden Gate Bridge we would have paid nothing. But I wasn’t really in the mood to battle with traffic through San Fran with our house attached to us. So I feel the 20 dollars was well spent, plus the views from the bridge were amazing….DSC_0571

Now as far as campgrounds go, there aren’t to many to chose from that are close to the city but I found one that was close to the ferry and a Trader Joe’s. Ha! Welcome to Marin RV Park. I didn’t get many pictures of this campground but here is our campsite.IMG_4870

California weather is amazing! I guess we would stay at this campground again because of how easy it was to get to the city but laundry is expensive and the guy next to us made sure that we knew where his spot was……IMG_4869

So we wedged our truck in every time and just barely fit. Anyway, as I walked around a bit I realized we were close to San Quentin State Prison.IMG_4794

At first I felt uneasy about this but considering all the large homes that were built around the prison, I figured we would be fine. The prison sits right on the water and not that I am jealous of the prisoners but they have an amazing view!

We didn’t go into the city on Friday. Actually, we walked down the street to Trader Joe’s for groceries and then we had a family meeting. This is when Micheal told us he was ready to go home. He missed his friends, his home and his family. This kind of made me sad because Mike and  I really have enjoyed this experience with him but we did understand. So we planned on sightseeing that weekend and I would make plans to get us home. Now that all that was settled we went to bed.

The next morning we got up and walked about 10 minutes to the Larkspur Ferry….DSC_0576

We purchased our tickets which were about 60.00 round trip ….ouch! We boarded the ferry and away we went!DSC_0577

Along the way we saw some houses…..which only had boat parking. I discovered the parking lot for these houses on a walk with Max on day. They had to walk down a pier and across the street to get to their cars. Pretty interesting!DSC_0579

We also passed San Quentin again…..DSC_0589

The prisoners were enjoying some outside time.


I love a good windy ride on a boat!


Next we passed, Alcatraz! So cool!! We had tickets for Sunday so more on Alcatraz later.DSC_0651


and then…there it was! The Golden Gate Bridge!


Although it was a sunny day, there was a haze in the air. I can’t explain it but it is the best weather for city touring!

The ferry pulled into the Ferry Building. This was such a cool place.


The Ferry Building was filled with shops, restaurants and markets.


This one caught my attention…salted pig parts! Yum! Well not all the parts sound yummy.IMG_4840


Another food I like is cheese….IMG_4843

I was regretting that we had breakfast before we left……

After looking around some we headed out for Chinatown. Along the way we saw our first cable car.


What we found interesting about San Fran was the hills….. see the one beyond the cable car. I think we just didn’t realize that we would be walking up hill around town but we did.

We finally made it to Chinatown.DSC_0671

We love going to Chinatown in NYC and we enjoyed this one to. We made our way up the hill and into several souvenir shops.


One place I wanted to find was the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie company.IMG_4818

This is where google maps led us….to an alley and there it was.IMG_4819

It was very crowded inside so I was the only one that went in. I would love to show you pictures but they charge you to take pictures. I don’t know how that works for them but I wasn’t going to risk owing money for a picture. Anyway, there are bags of fortune cookies on a shelf that lines the wall and they were a couple of dollars for each bag. There were also women sitting at these machines, a flat cookie would come out, they would put the fortune in, and fold them up. I didn’t purchase any cookies because the craziness of the place but they did smell good.

After all the hill climbing, we were getting hungry. Micheal wanted pizza so we walked around looking for a good pizza place. Thats when we found these…IMG_4837

I believe a snack is always a good idea when walking around a city but we still need to find pizza.


Finally found a pizza place and funny enough it was named after one of our favorites….


We have a happy camper on our hands. We bought three pieces and went to a park that we saw down the block.IMG_4828

It was pretty good pizza and gave us just enough energy to finish out our sightseeing.IMG_4829

My sweet boys! After lunch we were ready for a little bit more sightseeing. We decided to head over to Pier 39. Along the way we passed…DSC_0674

Cost Tower. We also got some pretty awesome views of the bay.


This was one of my favorite parts of San Fran. You never knew what view you would get after each block. We finally made it to Pier 39DSC_0718

and we went straight to the sea lions. DSC_0692

It was neat to see them but not so much smelling them!


This one didn’t make it long by himself and swam back over for cuddling with the others.


This one wanted his picture taken. After standing for a while to watch sea lions lay around we decided to head back to the ferry. There was a lot more to see at Pier 39 so we decided to come back on Sunday and see the rest.

We walked along The Embarcadero, which is the street that follows along the bay and led us straight to the Ferry Building. DSC_0720

We found the building for Alcatraz Tours on this street. DSC_0721

That makes tomorrow somewhat easier….I will explain later. We got back on the ferry and headed back home. What a great way to end the day!IMG_4805

I don’t usually get my fingers in pictures, but it has been a long day of hill climbing.

Tomorrow is the day for Alcatraz and more city exploring which we all were pretty excited about. What a great day we had.


Next up…Alcatraz!